U.S. Relations With Brunei

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Fact Sheet
September 13, 2017


More information about Brunei is available on the Brunei Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-BRUNEI RELATIONS

Brunei Darussalam is a Malay Muslim Monarchy located at the heart of Southeast Asia, the focus of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Although the United States and Brunei concluded their Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce and Navigation in 1850, which is still in effect, the current era of U.S.-Brunei relations began in 1984 when Brunei became fully independent from the United Kingdom and the United States and Brunei established diplomatic relations. A memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation was signed in 1994. In 2011, Brunei and the United States held an inaugural Senior Officials Dialogue, creating a new forum for high-level coordination and communication. The most recent iteration of this dialogue was a High-level Officials Meeting in London in November 2015 which covered issues including trade, security, human rights, defense, regional cooperation, and academic exchanges.

The two countries work closely together on a bilateral and regional agenda to tackle some of the most pressing issues. The contemporary U.S.-Brunei relationship enters its fourth decade in a position of strength, based on the unprecedentedly intensive and productive bilateral engagement in 2013, when Brunei provided solid leadership for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the 2013 ASEAN Chair. Brunei's armed forces engage in joint exercises, training programs, and other military cooperation with the United States, with the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise at the core of the bilateral defense relationship. Bruneian military personnel have attended U.S. military academies and in 2014 the first U.S. military student attended the Brunei Command and Staff Course. The United States and Brunei have also partnered to provide English language instruction in ASEAN countries, promote entrepreneurship, and expand educational opportunities and people-to-people connections. The United States and Brunei share a commitment to protecting the environment and in 2013 Brunei became the first nation in the world to ban all trade relating to sharks.

U.S. Assistance to Brunei

The United States provides no foreign assistance to Brunei.

Bilateral Economic Relations

U.S. firms are working in the energy sector, in financial services, and consulting for government projects, and U.S. franchises and brands are opening and thriving in Brunei. Trade between the United States and Brunei in 2016 totaled $628 million. Aircraft procured by Brunei from the United States in recent years include Sikorsky Black Hawk S70i helicopters and Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Brunei’s hydrocarbon-dependent economy has been experiencing some fiscal constraints since 2014. This has resulted in a focused interest and increased openness to bilateral trade. The government of Brunei has worked hard to strip away business regulations, resulting in the Sultanate being ranked the most improved country in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report for the last two years. Brunei has increasingly and actively sought out foreign direct investment in an effort to diversify away from its oil and gas dependence and developed various incentives for new industries and economic activities in order to create a more attractive marketplace for investors. Brunei's non-petroleum industries include manufacturing, construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and services. Brunei was a member of the P-4, the four founding members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) and is also a negotiating partner of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Brunei's Membership in International Organizations

Brunei gives its ASEAN membership the highest priority in its foreign relations. Brunei and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations and forums including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Brunei is Craig Allen; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Brunei maintains an embassy in the United States at 3520 International Court, NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel. 202-237-1838.

You can learn more from the Embassy webpage at http://brunei.usembassy.gov/ or by following the Embassy on social media including Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (USEmbassyBSB).

More information about Brunei is available from the Department of State and other online sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Brunei Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Brunei Page
Human Rights Reports
U.S. Embassy
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Travel Information